Google has just launched a new feature on their maps website: Bicycling. According to Google this has been the most requested addition to Google Maps.
This new feature includes: step-by-step bicycling directions; bike trails outlined directly on the map; and a new “Bicycling” layer that indicates bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly roads. The directions feature provides step-by-step, bike-specific routing suggestions – similar to the directions provided by their driving, walking, or public transit modes. Simply enter a start point and destination and select “Bicycling” from the drop-down menu. You will receive a route that is optimized for cycling, taking advantage of bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly streets and avoiding hilly terrain whenever possible.
I tested the new feature, and found it ‘interesting’. The new feature is in beta testing, and has yet to become full featured. I only found four bike routes in Michiana: they were in South Bend and Goshen. Hopefully, Google will expand their inventory of bike routes.
I also had Google find the best route from my home to my workplace. It was a pretty good route…not the best, but pretty good. You can check it out at http://maps.google.com/biking .